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Maldonado restaurant is a fine romantic restaurant in the very heart of Gozo!

Updated: Jul 2, 2023

Maldonado restaurant | Tucked quietly away from the busy main streets of Victoria, Gozo, this place still feels like a best-kept secret.

As good old Ned Stark would say, ‘winter has come’, and on this cold and windy Saturday night, Charlene and I needed a nice warm place to host our romantic date night. Maldonado restaurant didn’t disappoint. Trust me, the place is small but romantic. It is a beautifully converted house of character in the very heart of Gozo, rustically quaint with a nostalgic touch of the past.

Maldonado Restaurant

Proudly displaying its restored walls and masonry arches, Maldonado retains sense of identity and is brimming with timeless Gozitan charm brought about by centuries old history. In this day and age, were restaurants are filled to their very brim and space comes at a premium, tables at Maldonado are perfectly situated as to retain a sense of intimacy, without requiring you to be so close to others you can actually detect their deodorant (if any).

Near the entrance, a plaque promptly informs you Knight Fra Eugenio Ramirez Maldonado was an early 17th Century governor of Gozo. Hailing from Salamanca, he was governor for only two years (1610 to 1612). Four hundred years later there’s still a reminder of him, so I guess he must have done something right.

The menu at Maldonado is composed of a mix of Mediterranean cuisine with a touch of bold. Along with a number of pastas and meats, dishes included Gozitan ravioli and Maltese ‘lampuka’, an exotically named ‘Persian Chicken’ served on couscous, as well as the audacious Bloody Mary mussels with chili, tomato and vodka. All dishes were moderately priced.

Maldonado Restaurant

Most of the pasta dishes for example, are priced at €9, though you can up-size them to a main course portion for an additional €2.75. As for wines, the small cellar on the rear reflected a respectable selection of both local and international, most of which are mid-range in prices. There are few exceptions, and if you’re in the mood, the priciest item will set you back by €85.

If you’re not into wines, there is a basic selection of drinks with some craft beer options for you aficionados. With the food menu feeling so Mediterranean, we went for a Moschofilero. Hailing from Greece, it was pleasantly light, crisp and fruity, with an orange aftertaste. Opa!

Maldonado Restaurant

Obviously won over by Gozo and it’s charm, for her starter, Charlene opted for a ‘twice baked Gozitan ‘gbejniet’ (cheeselets) souffle’ with flaked almond topping, local sheep cheese sauce and a side salad. For Charlene, the souffle was light and the sauce creamy but not overpowering.

As for me, whilst I liked the souffle, the sauce lacked the taste of ‘local cheese’ and was a bit too runny. The taste of the Gozo ‘gbejna’ comes out very well in the souffle though, enough to make you partially forget any fault the sauce might have.

For my starter, I chose the ‘Rabbit Espetada’ (translation: meat on a stick, the Portuguese way) with red chimichurri on a bed of salad with pomegranate. The presentation was colourful and agreeable, whilst the texture of the rabbit excellently enhanced by the paprika and cumin. The pomegranate added a touch of sweetness to the dish.

Maldonado Restaurant

Unfortunately, the chimichurri was a bit too oily for my taste (am I too fussy about sauces?) and not enough tangy. In any case, here was rabbit, traditional of the Maltese cuisine, cooked the Portuguese way, with a touch of South American. This was Columbus sailing from Mgarr Harbour, passing by Lisbon, crossing the Atlantic, and landing in Buenos Aires.

For the main courses at Maldonado, I opted for ‘pork belly braised with dark ale’, whilst Charlene, having listened to my pleading, picked the ‘gnocchi with prawns and chermoula sauce’. The pork belly, comfortably rested on a bed of soft red cabbage and was accompanied by an apple compote which was nice and zesty, and to my delight, very spicy.

Maldonado Restaurant

The pork was so tender, I almost forgot I also had a knife at my disposal. Of note were the potatoes served as part of the side veggies, which had a perfect combination of spices and fennel.

As for Charlene’s dish, this was essentially the chef thinking outside the box. You see, Chermoula, is traditionally North African thick marinade used to enhance fish through its combination of lemon juice, parsley, mint, coriander and cumin (sometimes also including cayenne pepper and paprika).

Use it with tomatoes as a sauce to accompany chunky pieces of soft textured potato gnocchi with prawns, and you’ll end up with a perfectly balanced dish which will make you wish for more.

As for desserts, typical chocoholic Charlene opted for the ‘Double Chocolate tart with Chantilly cream’. Dense and heavy with a creamy heart, the tart had a pleasant aftertaste of dark chocolate. The Chantilly cream, a rich whipped cream infused with vanilla extract, was light and perfectly balanced the thick double chocolate tart.

Maldonado Restaurant

For me though, the real star at Maldonado was the ‘Pumpkin Pot de Crème with Carob Syrup and Ginger Snap’. Presented in a ramekin dish and topped off with the caramelized syrup, it was a creamy, dense dessert with a soft silky texture. The marriage of pumpkin and caramel was one made in heaven. Finished off with a ginger snap, the result was a beautiful, both in terms of presentation as well as taste.

It had just the right balance of sweet and bitter. For someone like me who is not too keen on all that is sweet, I would say this was one of the best desserts I ever had.

Maldonado Restaurant

We went to Maldonado hoping for a pleasant evening and good food. There is no doubt our expectations were amply exceeded. The service was attentive, charming, and quite simply perfect. The whole experience was a joyous thing. If you find yourselves in Gozo, do yourselves a favour and give it a visit. Honestly, it’s worth the effort.


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